As FC Dallas’s season has progressed, defender George John, once the centerpiece of the team’s back line, has become an afterthought, an unfortunate state for a player who once seemed destined for Europe.
Struggling with right knee problem throughout the year, John has yet to play a minute for head coach Óscar Pareja, a state that won’t change any time soon. After undergoing surgery today, John was placed on the disabled list, ending his 2014 season.
FC Dallas made the announcement on its website this evening:
“Dr. Michael Nguyen performed an osteoplasty of the medial femur to repair the knee, which has sidelined John throughout the 2014 season. Recovery from the procedure will keep the veteran center back out for the remainder of the season and he will be placed on the season-ending injury list.”
While John’s obviously been missed this season, FC Dallas has managed to survive without him, with a back line led by new captain Matt Hedges allowing the team to enter the weekend tied for third in the Western Conference. Despite that standing, FCD has allowed 31 goals in 21 games, with only Portland and Chivas USA conceded more often among teams in the West.
In light those numbers, it’d normally be tempting to ask how much better Dallas would be with John. Unfortunately, there’s never been a sense that the center back was improving. As Pareja has had to rely on the likes of Stephen Keel and Walker Zimmerman, John’s name has remaining in the background, with few giving the impression his return was even imminent.
When that return does happen, John will also have to recover from a prolonged time away from the field, with his last MLS appearance coming on Oct. 5 at Real Salt Lake. Though Dallas didn’t quote a timeline in today’s announcement, even a return for the 2015 season opener would mean 18 months between Major League Soccer appearances.